Last night in this thread on the Power Line Forum, I wrote that a lot of the heated discussion there over the past few days boils down to two questions:
- Our leadership lost its way. How can we find new leaders of conviction and promote them within the party?
- Our ideals and policies have been forgotten. How can we argue them convincingly when the channels of communication are fragmented and crowded with opponents?
PART I: Leadership
The most important decisions any organization makes are hiring (and firing) decisions. Great people are force multipliers: their intelligent energy drives action. To remove and replace unacceptable people, and repair damage to organization and policy, can eat up a year or more.
After hammering out leadership for the next session, the Republican party’s first priority should be to recruit outstanding candidates for House and Senate races. A quality slate is crucial for 2008. The party’s national leadership should demonstrate its commitment to regeneration by allocating 20 to 30 percent of its working hours to recruiting. Pay attention to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. (Note: 727 days to the 2008 election.)
In the long term, I propose that the conservative/libertarian movement create processes and institutions to develop leaders. In their book The Right Nation, John Mickelthwaite and Adrian Wooldridge describe the successful creation of a conservative alternative to the academy: the realm of think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation. The Federalist Society has created a conservative/libertarian counterculture in the law.
We have no such pipeline for leadership in the legislative and executive branches. Conservatives and libertarians should create avenues for networking, professional and personal development, and leadership from a relatively young age. A network of potential appointees and candidates, committed to conservative and libertarian ideals, would bear fruit in 2012, 2020, and 2040.
Part II: soon to come.
UPDATE: Dean Barnett says:
Leadership matters. One of the biggest problems we had in this past election cycle is that no one on the Republican side could articulate the Republican agenda or defend the Republican record.
UPDATE: Not a good start.